After rumors surfaced that Craig Smith was a potential candidate to become the next head coach at Minnesota, Xavier assistant Ben Johnson would be the one to get the job however and Craig Smith seemed to be a safe bet to stay in Logan. That was not the case for long however as less than a week after Minnesota hired Ben Johnson, Craig Smith was officially announced as the next head coach for the Utah Utes on March 27th. Smith was the head coach for Utah State from 2018-2021 and compiled a 74-24 record (75.5%), adding to his career record of 225-107 (67.8%).
In his first season at Utah State, he led the Aggies to a 28-6 (15-3) record, a Mountain West Tournament championship over San Diego State, and an NCAA Tournament appearance where the Aggies lost to Washington in the first round.
In his second season, Craig Smith led the Aggies to another Mountain West Tournament championship over San Diego State and led the team to a 26-8 (12-6) record before COVID-19 impacted the end of the season and the NCAA Tournament appearance that the Aggies would have received was canceled.
In his third season, Smith led the Aggies to a record of 20-9 (15-4) and also led his team to an NCAA Tournament appearance in a first round loss to Texas Tech. He led his team to their third straight conference tournament title appearance but the Aggies would fall in that game to San Diego State after sweeping the Aztecs in the regular season.
Before coaching at Utah State, Smith coached for South Dakota State from 2014-2018, and Mayville State from 2004-2007. He was also an assistant for Nebraska (2012-2014), Colorado State (2008-2012), North Dakota State (2001-2004), Minot State (1998-2001), and Mayville State (1996-1997).
Smith led the Aggies to two NCAA Tournament appearances and prior to his arrival Utah State had not been in the NCAA Tournament since 2011. Smith no doubt had a positive impact and rejuvenated an Aggies program that had not had a winning season since 2015. Utah has struggled in basketball lately, their best season in recent memory being in 2015 with a 19-11 record.
The search now begins for the Aggies to find a head coach that can continue to build off the success that Craig Smith had. There will be more updates on the coaching search and potential candidates once more information is known.